S3: Fine Line - Episode 20 - India

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Season three Fine Line narrative histories about mental health and mental illness, a traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. May you find insight and understanding in these voices. Episode twenty, India.

India:  I live under a bridge and some of the officers go down there just to check on me, see if I’m all right. And I have neighbors now. <laugh> found me some neighbors and what else? I have a sofa, a carpet, a bed. I’ve been there off and on eight years. I went to the county jail to see a friend of mine. And when I came out, and this one guy tried to rape me, and I told him, I’d rather you beat the hell out of me than rape me. And that’s what he did. Beat the hell out of me, but I didn’t get raped. <laugh>, that’s the good part about it, <laugh>. But he left me there for dead. Right? I, I still kicking. I was kicking. I was kicking.

I had a fantastic childhood. My mom did her darnest for us. My daddy, I couldn’t stand him. He wouldn’t work. My mom carried two jobs and she paid all the bills. My dad would just sit in the garage and drink with his friends. Always beating up my mom. When I was a little girl. I was a happy-go-lucky girl. I mean, nothing seemed to bother me. I did what I pleased. But then after a while, I started snapping, you know, because I was a paint sniffer and I used to take pills, uh, uppers, downers, yellow jackets, things like that. Then when I lost everything, I cried. ’cause I never had that, that protection no more. And now that I’m out here, it’s worse. It brings my self-esteem down because the more I try, the harder it gets. People kind of like give you dirty looks. They look at me because of my face, because I can’t be in the sun. I have pigmentation. I mean, no, but they’re not no better than us. Some of us are more fortunate than others. The only safety net I have is myself.

Sadness. Uh, sadness is me. Sadness to me is not even life. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar and sleeping disorder. When I get depressed, I’ll stay in my own little corner. I won’t bother with nobody. I won’t move. I go for months without eating. When I, when I was diagnosed, I told the doctor, why? What, what causes this? He said, some, some balance thing on the, in the brain or something, being depressed, bipolar, it is, whoa, the pain is suicide. You just wanna finish everything off. Don’t worry about nothing. I’ve been going for, uh, putting applications for jobs, right? I’ve been going almost every day, except for on weekends and all. They tell me, Nope, overqualified or, we’ll let you know. Or no, we’re not hiring till till January. I mean, I need a job now, not then. Now, you know what I would like to do? I would like to hit the lottery so I can open me a homeless shelter. But in the one I’m gonna open, they’re gonna have their own room, their own shower. They’re gonna have the kitchen downstairs, like a, like a mish board. But they’re gonna have to make an effort to work. I’ll give them six months. If not, I have to tell ’em to leave. That’s why I gonna open

[Outro Music]

Host:  Season three; Fine line – mental health mental illness is about understanding about our shared humanity and our shared fragility. India told me, I wish I could show others what it’s really like to be homeless. To live with major depression, struggling to find a job, is listening. What makes real conversations possible. It’s painful to be labeled and to be misunderstood. Thank you, India, for your grace, your wisdom, and your presence, I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for India’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.